Recommend me a DVR

Ok, so now I got the HD programming on my HDTV and it kicks ass! Now, I want to record something now and then for when the wife’s schedule and mine don’t mesh. Couple of things:

  1. I’m chea… thrifty! and don’t want to pay a monthly fee for a DVR, either from the Cable company or Tivo or what have you.

  2. So I’m looking for a standalone that will have enough room for about 20 hours of HD programming.

Recommend? Other issues?

I see a home-built HTPC in your future.

Isn’t MythTV the PVR of choice among the open-sourcers? Time to put your money where your mouth is, Son! :-)

I could certainly build my own… but time=$$$! So I’m looking for an off-the-shelf solution first.

There are no home built DVRs that work with HD, except for antennae based HD content. The cable stream is encrypted, and they only license decryption rights to all in one vendors, so no MythTV. I think you can buy a prebuilt Windows Media Center PC that will do it though?

Wait a sec - you’re too cheap to pay Comcast $10/month for a free HD DVR, but you’d spend $1500+ to build your own, sub-standard HD media center PC?

Fuck Comcast! They’re not the company I deal with around here, anyway. I suppose I can continue to use the old VCR if I really want to record something. I’m tired of being nickel and dimed to death by all companies everywhere.

Can you buy an HD-TiVO and then just set manual recording times, if your subscription lapses? Will they still work if you don’t subscribe or your subscription lapses?

AFAICT, Son, you’re screwed if you want a stand-alone off-the-shelf high-def DVR which works with your current cable / satellite service and doesn’t charge a monthly fee because they don’t exist.

Just bite the bullet, pay the monthly fee for TiVO or whatever your TV service offers, and hope someone sells what you want soon.

I bought the lifetime subscription for TiVo. If you’re going to keep it for more than a few years, it’ll pay for itself easily.

  • go grab a tivo series 3 and rent 2 cable cards (for TWC/comcast a cable card is only $2-3 a month vs $10+ for a STB) plus add the tivo subscription fees on top of that.
  • I don’t believe a Vista box with cable card is available yet on shelves? I might be wrong. If somebody has found one please point the way. Did the ATI OCUR ever make it to market or did it die a horrible screaming death due to the paranoid content providers?
  • Grab an MCE box and slap on an hdhomerun (hdhr) for two clear qam tuners for HD content (again only broadcast channels and probably 30 or so analog tier equivalents show up in clear qam digital) or you can roll your own htpc and go with mythtv,gbpvr, beyondtv, sagetv, etc. ZERO monthly fees going this route. Also, ZERO ability to record HD premium content.
  • Grab a STB with an enabled firewire port and hope your provider doesn’t 5C protect all the good content (but they probably do so this is more than likely a dead end)

Or you do what I do since either way you are basically screwed. Go with the lowest digital tier lineup, grab an hdhr (or two if you need more tuners), pick the pvr software of your choice, and learn to live with just broadcast HD shows and just say screw it all to hell for the payed premium stuff. I’ve got too much tv to watch as it is anyways.

You can’t buy a lifetime sub for TiVo anymore.

They didn’t even let it get carried over to the series 3’s IIRC.

Goddamn fuckin’ media companies.

You can, in fact, carry over your lifetime to a series3. They charge $200 to do it, though.

Basically you’re out of luck if you want to record cable, are cheap, and don’t want to pay a monthly fee. You have only 3 choices:

  1. Tivo series3 - best solution by far, fairly expensive ($400-600, depending on deals), monthly fee
  2. Vista MCE computer w/ cablecards - most expensive by a huge margin ($1800+), no monthly fee. Will get much cheaper as time passes.
  3. Rent a HD DVR from your cable company - pay $10-15/month fee

We’ve got DirecTV, so this doesn’t exactly apply, but the new HD-DVR they just gave us to replace the DirecTV/Tivo-bastard-box is so much nicer to use than the Tivo box I can’t believe it. Are all cable DVR solutions universally bad? Surely some of them might be nice like the DirecTV DVR we now have.

Aren’t a lot of programs blocked from being recorded?

Only On Demand. Never had a single problem recording a normal HD program.

Even my ondemand shit would stick around until the license was dead (24 hours) so it was effectively ‘recorded’ it’s just that it’s a rental.

You can’t go wrong with the great interface on the HD TiVo (Series 3), and it’s a lot better than rolling your own. Since it has dual CableCARDs which will let you view premium channels from your digital cable subscription, it will let you view far more HD content than those which relies only on antenna or over the air. It’s also cheaper up front than rolling your own, although it has a monthly fee. You can also download Amazon Unbox videos, although I’m unsure if they offer high-def content for that service.